High-speed rail takes minister on first Madinah-Makkah journey

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Saudi Transport Minister Nabeel Al-Amoudi and Spanish Ambassador Alvaro Iranzo sit in the Haramain high-speed train that links the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah on Sunday. (SPA)
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Updated 01 January 2018

High-speed rail takes minister on first Madinah-Makkah journey

RIYADH: Dr. Nabil Al-Amoudi, minister of transport and chairman of Saudi Railway Organization and Saudi Railways Company (SAR), on Sunday took the first 450km full journey of the high-speed Haramain train.
The non-stop journey went from Madinah station to Makkah station to examine the readiness of the project before commercial operation of the service.
The head of the public transport authority, President-designate of the Saudi Railway Organization Dr. Rumaih Al-Rumaih, Spanish Ambassador Alvaro Iranzo, the chief executive of SAR, Dr. Bashar Al-Malik, and several national leaders working on the project, in addition to experts from the consortium entrusted with the operation of the Holy Mosques high-speed rail, also went on the journey.
Al-Amoudi said that this project is of strategic importance and has attracted global attention, as it is one of the mega public transportation projects linking the two Holy Mosques of Makkah and Madinah.
“In addition to the great benefit of transporting Umrah and Hajj pilgrims and visitors, the project facilitates transportation of citizens and residents in the Kingdom via the Holy Mosques high-speed rail through five stations and at high speed throughout the year,” he added.
Al-Rumaih confirmed that the pilot service journeys for Holy Mosques high-speed rail would start in the coming months.
He also explained that during these pilot service journeys, some passengers would be invited to try the service.
“These journeys will increase gradually until the full commercial operation,” he said, noting that “work is underway to determine the ticket prices to be appropriate and reflect the size of service provided in this project.”
Al-Rumaih added: “The consortium charged with the implementation of the project will run it for the next 12 years.”


Saudi female lawyers praise Justice Ministry’s efforts to empower women

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Updated 5 min 41 sec ago

Saudi female lawyers praise Justice Ministry’s efforts to empower women

  • Compared to the previous status of women at the Justice Ministry, Al-Daknan said this latest step was a significant achievement

JEDDAH: Several Saudi female lawyers have praised the Justice Ministry’s decision to appoint 100 female notaries as a step forward for women’s legal empowerment.
“We appreciate Justice Minister Walid Al-Samani’s … rapid steps toward empowering women to work in all available jobs, considering them viable components of society, particularly in the justice sector,” lawyer Njnood Qasim told Arab News.
She added: “We hope that it will be the beginning of an important and most anticipated step, which is the appointment of a Saudi woman as a judge.”
Qasim noted that many qualified women have been recruited by the Justice Ministry for the first time in history to work in the fields of law, Shariah, sociology, administration and technology.
Lawyer Rana Al-Daknan, meanwhile, said she thought women could fill any role in society. “An ambassador, an undersecretary, a minister, but I think no woman should be a minister before women become judges,” she told Arab News.
Compared to the previous status of women at the Justice Ministry, Al-Daknan said this latest step was a significant achievement, but added: “Of course we are looking for more, though that does not mean we should not appreciate this step.”

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The newly appointed female notaries will officially start their work next Sunday with a specialized training program lasting three months.

Al-Daknan explained that women first began obtaining notary licenses in 2018, and the services they offer include documentation, transferring property, authorizing powers of attorney submissions and other services.
“The next step for women is working with conciliation committees, which is known in other countries as being a magistrate. Thankfully it is possible now for both men and women to obtain conciliation licenses, where they will assume the role of the judge,” Al-Daknan said. “I personally have applied and (am) in the process to obtain this license.”
Another lawyer, Abrar Shaket, told Arab News that this move was the natural result of the Kingdom’s steps to empower its female citizens under King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.